10 Mar 2011

Assange: ‘Police investigator is friend of sex accuser’

A newspaper in Sweden is claiming that the police investigator who first interviewed two Swedish women about allegations of rape against Julian Assange is friends with one of the women.

Julian Assange (R)

The Expressen newspaper says that online conversations prove a friendship between the prosecuting officer and ‘woman A’. The contact is reported to have been going on for 16 months before the allegations were first made against Mr Assange.

The paper reports that in 2009 the female officer quoted a blog post that Miss A made about white men ‘who take the right to decide what is not abusive”. Miss A responded by thanking her for the quote and saying: “Hello! Thanks for the compliment. And like you say, white men must always defend the right to use abusive words. Then they of course deny that these very words are part of a system that keeps their group at the top of the social ladder.”

The most recent comment by Miss A was made on the police officer’s facebook page on 10th February, according to the paper, and on Miss A’s personal page she has a link to the officer’s private blog.

The interrogating office has also made public comments about Mr Assange, including one on a recent webchat with Assange, hosted by another Swedish paper, Aftonbladet. That comment was: “What the heck is this! Judgement zero!”. She also used her facebook page to describe him as an ‘overrated bubble ready to burst’ two weeks ago.

The paper goes on to say that the officer was on duty when the two women came in to report their concerns by Assange, yet she did not report a conflict of interest.

Mark Stephens, Assange’s lawyer said that the legal team were aware of the online contact at the time of the court case last month: “There are a whole raft of issues like this which should cause reasonable people a bit of concern.” he said. “I’m delighted that the Swedes, who objected so strongly to our criticism of the case, have started to acknowledge that there are systematic problems in their judicial process which allow this sort of thing to happen.”

At the end of February a judge ruled that Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault and rape, dismissing claims that his human rights are at risk there.

Assange branded his extradition hearing a “rubber-stamping process” after the judge gave the go-ahead to a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Swedish authorities. He said at the time: “It comes as no suprise but is nonetheless wrong. It has been falsely stated that I said the CIA or Pentagon were involved in the allegations. I never stated that. However the process and the handling of those allegations – allegations that one of the prosecution’s witnesses say were a result of the railroading and pressure by others – is something that deserves serious scrutiny.”

Mr Assange, 39, is accused of sexually assaulting one woman and raping another while in Stockholm on a week long visit in 2010. He is going to appeal the decision at the High Court.

Police superintendent Ulf Goranzon told Expressen that he was not aware of any relationship between the police interrogator and one of the plaintiffs. He said he could not comment further. The Swedish prosecutor also said she would not comment while a case is ongoing in the UK.